Getting on an airplane for holiday travel isn’t something many people get excited about. After all, with the crowds, the delays and just the everyday inconveniences of getting from one place to another, flying can feel a little overwhelming on even a typical day. That’s why American Airlines pilot Captain Russ Wayant decided to do something special for Mother’s Day.
On his May 14 route from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to New York’s LaGuardia, Wayant stood outside the door of his jet and personally greeted each woman and little girl entering the plane. He offered each of them a rose to celebrate the special day.
In Chicago alone, he gave out 200 roses and then repeated the tradition on his return flight to Chicago. Wayant shared some of his own photos of the trip back to O’Hare International Airport and the “cabin of roses” he gifted to his passengers.
According to CBS News Chicago, the pilot started the Mother’s Day tradition 11 years ago. After he saw how happy the passengers were with their gift, he decided to make it an annual tradition.
Back in 2017, the airline tweeted a photo of the captain and the crew getting ready to hand out roses that year for Mother’s Day:
We ❤️ this tradition! ORD- based Capt. Russ Wayant & the #AATeam give roses to all the mothers boarding their flight. Happy Mother's Day! 🌹 pic.twitter.com/ORhocAKQCq
— americanair (@AmericanAir) May 14, 2017
The passengers weren’t the only ones to receive a rose for Mother’s Day on his flights. Wayant purchases enough flowers each year to make sure he can give them to his flight attendants, ramp agents and gate agents, too.
Wayant wasn’t alone in gifting flowers for Mother’s Day. According to the National Retail Federation, 74% of Americans buying gifts for the holiday were expected to buy blooms this year for the moms, grandmas and other mom figures in their lives.
If you were one of the lucky ones who received fresh roses for Mother’s Day, check out these tips for making your cut flowers last longer.